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USD Offers Noon Luncheon on Anti-Refugee Bigotry

The USD Muslim Students’ Society, the USD Center for Diversity & Community, and other sensible sponsors help us get to the bottom of one South Dakota cultural dysfunction with “Understanding Islamophobia and Anti-Refugee Bigotry,” a lunchtime program next Tuesday, November 28, in the Muenster University Center Pit Lounge.

Understanding Islamophobia and Anti-Refugee Bigotry in South Dakota, USD 2017.11.28.

If you can’t make Taneeza Islam’s Vermillion presentation next Tuesday, you can make sense of South Dakota’s little Trumpy tantrums against refugees by reading Adam Serwer’s, “The Nationalist Delusion,” a powerful, well-reasoned, well-evidenced essay that explains the most unpleasant truth about Trumpism (a point made frequently on this blog): the current President is a product not of some unique economic decline or empathy-worthy working-class angst but of rank racism deeply ingrained in American culture, now trying to erase the horror of having been governed by a black man for eight years:

Trump’s great political insight was that Obama’s time in office inflicted a profound psychological wound on many white Americans, one that he could remedy by adopting the false narrative that placed the first black president outside the bounds of American citizenship. He intuited that Obama’s presence in the White House decreased the value of what W. E. B. Du Bois described as the “psychological wage” of whiteness across all classes of white Americans, and that the path to their hearts lay in invoking a bygone past when this affront had not, and could not, take place.

That the legacy of the first black president could be erased by a birther, that the woman who could have been the first female president was foiled by a man who confessed to sexual assault on tape—these were not drawbacks to Trump’s candidacy, but central to understanding how he would wield power, and on whose behalf.

Americans act with the understanding that Trump’s nationalism promises to restore traditional boundaries of race, gender, and sexuality. The nature of that same nationalism is to deny its essence, the better to salve the conscience and spare the soul [Adam Serwer, “The Nationalist’s Delusion,” The Atlantic, 2017.11.20].

Lay Serwer’s article out on the dinner table and discuss it with your Trump-voting relatives before tearing into the turkey that is supposed to celebrate our refugee ancestors’ peaceful supping with helpful natives. Then bring whoever’s left standing to Taneeza Islam’s presentation at USD Tuesday to underscore the explanation of why a few white South Dakotans are so darned mad.


  1. Ryan 2017-11-22

    Hopefully this message will be well-received and people can get over their fear of people who believe in a different imaginary friend than they believe in.

    As for the issue of Trump’s presidency being a response by America to Obama, I actually disagree completely with that premise, at least as it applies to the majority if Trump voters. I can’t believe anybody would actually vote for him, but since they did, my guess is those votes were more in response to Hillary being a terrible alternative and Trump somehow convincing gullible people that he would stand up to the corrupt political system that most Americans have come to be suspect of.

    Turns out Trump is not the savior those people thought he would be, but I think only a small percentage of his voters were trying to wash away the non-whiteness of Obama. Of course race is still a big issue in this country, but I think it is getting better every day, and I am willing to bet more voters hated Hillary and hated politicians in general than hated Obama or minorities specifically. Trump’s presidency is a consequence of hate, to be sure, but I think the racist haters are a small percentage of the total haters.

  2. Robin 2017-11-22

    Serwer’s article has a small amount of merit. He fails to explain why people who voted for Obama twice flipped red, and why traditionally blue counties went red some by more than 30 points. If the votes were purely racially motivated Hillary should have been able to easily push Obama aside in 2008.

  3. Timoteo 2017-11-22

    It would be difficult to tease apart racism versus the anti-establishment vote, but surely many of those who voted for Trump were merely anti-establishment.

    Of course, modern thinking would seem to identify every human being as being racist, whether they admit it or not. So maybe it’s just a question of what percentage of Trump’s support came from the anti-establishment folks.

  4. bearcreekbat 2017-11-22

    The racist factor likely played a large role in the primaries, but once primary voters decided on Trump I suspect that being able to nominate a conservative Supreme Court Justice, as well as conservative lower court judges, was taken into account “bigly” in the general election by rational Republicans who held their noses while voting for Trump.

  5. Robin 2017-11-22

    I agree Timoteo-Although mainstream media chose to ignore this, Virginia did push back hard on establishment Dems by electing Carter this last election

  6. mike from iowa 2017-11-22

    Wingnuts not only want conservative justices, they want them wearing diapers and want them to grow into the position to hold it for so long.

    Some of the nominees are rated unanimously unqualified with zero court experience. Drumpf and wingnuts are making a total mockery of all three parts of government.

  7. Robin 2017-11-22

    Something is definitely brewing – 15 establishment Dems and Republicans in addition to the one in Virginia were ousted so you can’t chalk it up to racism. These were not registered with either the democratic party or the republican party. Montana was one of the states in rebellion.

  8. Porter Lansing 2017-11-22

    Happy Thanksgiving, FreePressers As always the level of commentary and Cory’s posts are the superior product in DakotaBlogville. :)

  9. grudznick 2017-11-22

    Mr. Lansing, a Happy Thanksgiving to you. I shall raise a slab of gelatinous cranberry to you, and if I get some turkey tomorrow as planned, I shall raise that as well, slathered in gravy. Gravy is the best part of Thanksgiving. grudznick is thankful for the gravy in my TV dinners and for the gravy bowl I hope to ladle from at sit down dinners tomorrow.

  10. Porter Lansing 2017-11-22

    Thanks, Grudzie. You’re the centerpiece of every Thanksgiving. 🦃😊 Apologies to the thread for the distraction.
    ~ This hatred towards our fellow women and men of Islam truly is a South Dakota cultural dysfunction. It stems from gutter low self esteem, parental non-nurturing and a very deficient gene pool among the hateful and fearful.
    ~ But, these haters have always had a hatred for some group. It was black people. It was gay and lesbian people. It was and still is poor people. It is Indian people . It’s Latino y Latina people. It’s a deep need to feel superior when you see yourself as inferior.
    ~ This time they’re hating on a group that fights back and plays for keeps. If all hell breaks loose, you’ll know who instigated the violence.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-11-23

    Ryan, I agree there was as much anti-Hillary as anti-Obama in the vote. That’s part of the whole white-male supremacy thing: dominated by a black man for eight years, and now a woman wants to boss me around for four years? Heck no!

    Remember that Trump’s most compelling messages included explicit promises to discriminate against racial minorities. He activated a base response.

  12. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-11-23

    Timoteo, I would suggest that Serwer’s thesis includes the idea that racism is deeply ingrained in the American psyche and, to varying extents, does afflict all of us. But it afflicts the Trump and David Duke voters most seriously.

  13. OldSarg 2017-11-24

    “Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.”
    ― Henry Louis Gates Jr.

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-11-25

    Another non sequitur from OldSarg, who can’t deal with the facts or arguments as presented. Trumpist Islamophobia is racism, plain and simple.

  15. OldSarg 2017-11-25

    Gee Cory, what race is islam?

  16. Robin 2017-11-25

    Islamophobia is Anti Muslim racism- An intersection of race and religion. In the context of the “war on terror”, the racialization of American
    Muslims generates local and palpable experiences of exclusion and abuse for both Muslims and non-Muslims.

  17. mike from iowa 2017-11-25

    Muslims generates local and palpable experiences of exclusion and abuse for both Muslims and non-Muslims.

    And right wing kristians don’t?

  18. OldSarg 2017-11-25

    Fascist: Those who redefine words to attack others who do not believe as they believe.

  19. Robin 2017-11-25

    Sarge you just redefined the word facist. We like to call those people Republicans-

  20. OldSarg 2017-11-25

    Robin, prove me wrong. You can’ are fascist, no more, no less.

  21. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-11-26

    Claiming to fight Islam gives racists an excuse to dress their racism up as a fight against terrorists motivated by religion. That gives them a double dip into religious bigotry alongside racism as they proceed to justify policies, attitudes, and false generalizations that oppress all sorts of brown people.

    And then there’s that wall to keep out all those Catholic brown people. Racism, racism, racism. White people feeling the insecurity of losing majority (because we know how minorities have suffered under our majority) cast about for scapegoats. Donald Trump offers those scapegoats. Racism, racism, racism.

  22. mike from iowa 2017-11-26

    Fascist: Those who redefine words to attack others who do not believe as they believe.

    This should be written on Old fill in the blanks tombstone.

    Truer words he hath not spoke
    Spoken by devil with morals broke.
    Written in stone for posterity
    louis Cypher is the evil in he.

  23. bearcreekbat 2017-11-26

    According to Merriam-Webster Robin is correct – OldSarg has changed the definition of Fascist.

    1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

    2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control

    It’s certainly funny when folks think they are using hot-button words in a manner that advances whatever argument they are making even though the standard accepted definitions of those same words do not advance the argument in any way shape or form. Checkmate OldSarg, Robin and the truth trumped you!

  24. leslie 2017-11-26

    rush Limbaugh has been playing with the meaning of words for 25 years so its no surprise sarge might not understand that English words have definitions, which granted change over time, but not as republicans would have it. geez

    trump’–the GOP–dumbing down American so capitalism works better.

  25. Robin 2017-11-26

    Cory off topic but the Feds are ready to overturn state caps on payday lenders- and let it roll at 350%, plus the feds are legalizing sup prime lending on mobile homes ( ok it’s on the agenda for vote )

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